A Beechcraft King Air C90 registration number N342ER crash-landed in rural Mississippi on Saturday after the pilot reportedly threatened to fly the plane into a Walmart Supercenter.
The Tupelo Police Department posted on Facebook that at about 5 a.m. local time, the pilot of a small plane called 9-1-1 and threatened to crash the plane he was flying into the Walmart on West Main Street, not far from the nearby Tupelo Regional Airport.
Videos from residents showed the plane making low passes around the city early Saturday morning.
Flight tracking data from flightradar24.com showed the plane making tight circles at low altitudes north and northwest of Tupelo throughout the morning. The plane dropped off tracking apps just after 10 a.m., its last reported position southwest of Ashland at 900 feet and 140 knots estimated ground speed.
SuperTalk Mississippi (@supertalk) reported later the plane had crashed intact in a field and that Benton County Sheriff's Department deputies had the pilot in custody. Images reportedly showing the plane's crash site soon appeared.
Update 9/3 2:30 p.m. EST
Benton County Sheriff's deputies have identified the plane's pilot as Cory Patterson, according to a report from WAPT 16 in Jackson, Mississippi.
Patterson, who fueled planes at the airport and had some flight experience, stole the fully fueled King Air off the tarmac at Tupelo Regional Airport and took off just after 5 a.m., Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka said. Patterson then called in his threat via 9-1-1 and loitered over the city before flying northwest prior to the crash landing outside Ashland.
Law enforcement took Patterson into custody after a brief standoff, and he has reportedly been charged with grand larceny and terroristic threats, pending further charges from any federal investigations.
We will continue to update this story as more info comes available.
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